The Mummy’s Hand is a 1940 American supernatural horror feature film directed by Christy Cabanne from a screenplay co-written by Griffin Jay and Maxwell Shane It was produced by Ben Pivar. The Universal production stars Dick Foran, Peggy Moran, Wallace Ford and Cecil Kellaway.
Although it is sometimes claimed to be a sequel or follow-up to the 1932 film The Mummy, it does not continue that film’s storyline, or feature any of the same characters, and its plot suggests rather an unacknowledged remake of the earlier mummy film.
This was the first of a series of four films all featuring the mummy named Kharis, the follow-ups being The Mummy’s Tomb, The Mummy’s Ghost and The Mummy’s Curse, all of which starred Lon Chaney Jr. in the title role.
Egyptian Andoheb (George Zucco) travels to the Hill of the Seven Jackals in answer to the royal summons of the High Priest of Karnak (Eduardo Ciannelli). The dying priest of the sect explains the story of Kharis (Tom Tyler) to his follower.
The tale closely parallels that of the original film, except that Kharis steals the sacred tana leaves in the hope of restoring life to the dead Princess Ananka. His penalty upon being discovered is to be buried alive, without a tongue, and the tana leaves are buried with him.
The leaves are the secret to Kharis’ continued existence. During the cycle of the full moon, the fluid from the brew of three tana leaves is to be administered to the creature to keep him alive. Should despoilers enter the tomb of the Princess, a fluid of nine leaves will restore movement to the monster.
Meanwhile, down on his luck archaeologist Steve Banning (Dick Foran) and his sidekick, Babe Jenson (Wallace Ford), discover the remnants of a broken vase in a Cairo bazaar. Banning is convinced it is an authentic ancient Egyptian relic, and his interpretation of the hieroglyphics on the piece lead him to believe it contains clues to the location of the Princess Ananka’s tomb…
Tom Tyler, who played the mummy, had previously been a star of western films, but by this point his career was on a downward spiral.
The Mummy’s Hand can be seen as the first ‘real’ mummy film, in the sense that it is the first to feature what would remain essential elements of the series, both for Universal and later Hammer. The earlier Karloff film, other than a brief sequence at the beginning, did not feature a bandaged, shuffling zombie-like character taking his revenge against tomb raiders – that was something that this film invented, as well as the use of tana leaves (used throughout the Universal cycle). Sadly, it also set a low standard for action, horror and production quality that the rest of the Universal mummy films that would follow.
Reviews [click links to read more]:
” …a movie you can kick back with if you’re in the mood for some true golden age Universal movie monster mayhem. This is the stuff that the “monster kid” generation was weaned upon. It’s got chills, thrills, adventure and a generous dose of hokiness. It may be no somber, brooding masterpiece of cinematic horror, but when I think of ancient, bandaged, Egyptian dudes, The Mummy’s Hand will always be the film that first comes to mind…” The Vault of Horror
“This movie is perfectly content to be a simple, to-the-point time-waster, filling out the bottom half of a bill with some bigger, flashier film. It’s dumb but speedy, and often entertaining in its unambitious way.” 1000 Misspent Hours
Buy The Mummy Legacy Collection on DVD from Amazon.com
Buy The Mummy’s Hand + The Mummy’s Curse on DVD from Amazon.com
Cast and characters:
- Dick Foran … Steve Banning
- Peggy Moran … Marta Solvani
- Wallace Ford … Babe Jenson
- Eduardo Ciannelli … The High Priest (as Eduardo Cianelli)
- George Zucco … Andoheb
- Cecil Kellaway … Mr Solvani (as Cecil Kelloway)
- Charles Trowbridge … Dr Petrie
- Tom Tyler … The Mummy
- Sig Arno … The Beggar (as Siegfried Arno)
- Eddie Foster … Egyptian
- Harry Stubbs … Bartender
- Michael Mark … Bazaar Owner
- Mara Tartar … Girl
- Leon Belasco … Ali
- Nick Borgani … Bar Patron (uncredited)
- James Crane … King Amenophis (archive footage) (uncredited)
- Jerry Frank … Egyptian Thug (uncredited)
- Zita Johann … Princess Ananka (archive footage) (uncredited)
- Boris Karloff … Kharis (archive footage) (uncredited)
- Frank Lackteen … Temple Priest (uncredited)
- Murdock MacQuarrie … Temple Priest (uncredited)
- Ken Terrell … Egyptian Thug (uncredited)